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Nebulae

There are several different types of nebulae,and there are several classification schemes. One is based on spectroscopy and the light which is seen from the nebulae:

Emission Nebulae: Emit light because the atoms in their gases are excited by high energy radiation of stars involved. They show emission line spectra.

Reflection Nebulae: Reflect light of nearby stars by their dust particles. Therefore, their spectra are the same as those of the stars, typically continuous spectra.

Dark Nebulae: Absorb light - Their gas component can be seen as absorption spectra in the light of background stars, their dust component by absorbing and reddening background light.

For more information see http://www.seds.org/messier/nebula.html
M42 The Orion Nebula
M42 The Orion Nebula
Carina Nebula in LRGB
Carina Nebula in LRGB
Messier 97 The Owl Nebula in Ursa Major
Messier 97 The Owl Nebula in Ursa Major